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Cashew Lou's Yukon Annex

I've got Pop-Pop in the attic.

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Job get; or, it pays to self-advocate
Yup; I got a job. I start next Tuesday as a copywriter and web page maintenance person here in Austin. It is temp-to-perm; I will become a full-fledged employee after a three-month trial period. It offers good pay, good benefits, and is right in line with what I would like to be doing professionally. This is, of course, wonderful news...but the journey getting there is the amazing story here. Pull up a chair and set a spell; this will take a bit.

Last week, I had both a phone interview and a face-to-face one for this position. Both went swimmingly, and I was told more than once that I was more than likely a shoo-in for the job. All was well; I had a good and optimistic weekend with that in mind.

Then things got...weird.

My recruiter contacted me Monday morning and told me to get my pre-employment drug screen done post haste, that the business was set to hire and get me started as quickly as possible, pending my drug screen and background check. So, off I ran to pee in a cup, and I came back home and let them know it had been taken care of. My optimism at this point was through the roof.

Two hours later, I got a very impersonal email from the recruiter, telling me that information in my background check made me ineligible for the position, and that I had been removed from consideration. No details or explanation or anything of that sort accompanied the message; all I had to go on was a telephone number of the background check service. Of course, I called them immediately.

The background service representative was confused by my call. Yes, they told me, I was in queue to have a check run, but at that point in time it had not actually been performed yet. They told me they would put a "rush" on it, and have the information sent to the recruiter as quickly as possible. I heard nothing back from anyone the rest of the day Monday, even though I tried to contact both the background check service and my recruiter a number of times. Needless to say, I was livid, frustrated and confused. I had been dismissed from a great job opportunity, even though I knew in my heart and mind that my background check was clean as a whistle. I was positive of it.

First thing Tuesday morning, the recruiter called me. They told me, with a stern and cold edge to their voice, that it should be obvious why I was turned down for the position, "considering my history." I admit this got me defensive--not to the point of blowing my stack, but I was sure there had been a mistake made, and a large one. I had nothing worse than a speeding ticket on my record--and that was in 1982. I insisted, repeatedly, that my record was clean, and that I had never had an issue with a background check in my life. Their response was, "Sir, the preliminary report I have in front of me states otherwise. Dramatically so."

Laws and guidelines dictate that the recruiter could not give me too many details, so we had a mutually frustrating back-and-forth about what was on the background check they had. Finally, I was able to get out of them that my report showed that I had "more than one" felony conviction when I lived in Columbus, Ohio. While it is true I lived there from 2000 to 2005, I knew for a fact that I had no legal record of any kind while living there. I may be many things, but a felon I am not. I protested my innocence once again.

The recruiter then told me my only recourse was to have a copy of my background check sent to me, and to review the information personally for errors; unfortunately, privacy laws dictate that this can only be done through snail mail. Considering the time it would take for me to get the report sent to me, and the time it would probably take to clear up any discrepancies on it, I guessed out loud that it would be too late for me to be reconsidered for the position no matter what happened. The recruiter agreed that was likely the case.

So. I was being shut out of a wonderful job opportunity due to what was clearly incorrect information on a background check--and I wouldn't be able to see said report until sometime next week. I was being screwed somewhere, and I insisted very strongly that there was a potentially devastating error. The recruiter was in the process of telling me there was nothing they could do, when they stopped in mid-sentence. There was a drawn-out silence, and our conversation continued as follows:

Me: Hello?

Recruiter: (as if thinking out loud) Wait a minute....

Me: Please don't tell me you found something else.

Recruiter: Do you know a (name that is clearly not mine)?

Me: No.

At this point, the tone in the recruiter's voice changes radically, and becomes much more sympathetic.

Recruiter: Sir, please let me call you back. I won't be more than half an hour, I promise.

Me: Um, okay.

They don't call back, but I get an email very quickly, and it is embarrassed and humble in tone. "Mistakes have been made," I am told, and "lessons have been learned." I am assured in a rather cryptic manner that "things will be made right as soon as possible." I scratch my head and wonder just what in the hell is going on. Minutes later, another brief email, stating in almost telegram-like fashion, "New check run. Clean. Will recommend you to client."

Less than an hour after that, I got the official job offer. I accepted.

I just had to call the recruiter and find out what happened. It turns out the agency was using a new background check firm, and there were a "few bugs" that needed to be worked out. "Well, duh!" I thought, but did not say it out loud. Sections of history for one--and possibly two--other people had crept onto the report they had pulled; one had a name that was sorta like mine, and the other had a similar birthday--but with judicious study, it was easy to see they were clearly not me. I was offered an almost fawning apology, which I also accepted.

I realize no one is perfect, and we all make mistakes, but this oversight almost cost me a very good job--not to mention causing me a significant amount of personal embarrassment. Had I not vigorously and repeatedly defended myself, I would not have a job, and would have a recruiting agency thinking I was a scumbag felon.

So, yeah; kind of a roller coaster emotional ride for a couple of days there. How has your week been? o(:o)

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Do I get any time for rebuttle?

Has it been that long since you watched Brazil?

*slaps forehead* It has been too long. o(:oP

Swing and a miss!

But we all get copies of the home game, apparently.

Wow, a pretty dramatic trip-up right during the home stretch.

Glad it worked out, though. It's been a long, rough road, and I'm really happy to see you finally getting that break you deserve! :)

I am, too! After almost two years of horrible employment and job search experiences, I am still a little wary--but I think this is going to work out well.

Wow. I'm now wondering how many other people that background check company has screwed up.. I'm all for accepting misunderstandings, but when it's something quite so critical, mistakes can cost livelihoods, and even lives. The accuracy of such information ought to be rigorously guaranteed.

All the same, very good news at the end of it all! Hopefully it'll be a less dramatic time than landing the position. =:D

A friend of mine told me, "having that happen is like having your AIDS test mis-read." Okay, not getting a job isn't necessarily life-threatening, but it's bad nonetheless.

For me, the hard part is landing the job; I have always done very well when it comes to job performance.

Well, all's well that ends well, I suppose! Congrats on the new job! :-)


That's the bottom line, right? Of course, if I were to allow my paranoid side to take over, I would swear someone up there was dicking around with me. But no more! o(:o)

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Heh...I am not so sure how often I would repeat it if I hadn't gotten the job!

As for the felony thing, you take responsibility for ONE severed head, and it follows you FOREVER. o(:oP

Woah. Pretty much everything from the moment they asked you to pee into that cup would be so totally illegal over here and a clear cut case for litigation. :P

Good to hear it worked out in the end, though. It's been a long time, isn't it?

It has been a long time; very nearly two years since I have had solid, full-time employment.

Unfortunately, the US is for the most part an "employment at will" country, which means an employer can dismiss an employee with no notice and with no reason--and the employee very often has no legal recourse. It is one of the many flaws in the employment system over here.

Congrats on getting the job! Also it sucks when things like this happens. I'm just glad that mistakes were fixed and you didn't lose out on something good, due to said mistakes that you didn't make at all. ^^

Yeah; the overall lesson to learn here is to make your voice heard if you are sure that something wrong has taken place. You can never count on someone else advocating for you; you must do it yourself.

Of course. It's good advice as well for this sorta situation.

That is rather bizzare. Still, you got a job. *cheers*

I'll drink to that! *clink*

That's really fairly insane, overall, but I'm very glad you've gotten a job.

I guess this is a case in which the end justifies the fairly crazy means.

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